“If you escape with me tonight, our dreams will come true,” says young Victor (voiced by Nat Wolff) to his best friend, Felicie (voiced by Elle Fanning), as the two orphans plot their escape from an orphanage in the family-friendly animated adventure film, Leap!.
11-year-old Felicie has a dream to run away to Paris and become a famous dancer. Her best friend Victor also yearns to escape and become a world famous inventor. Together, the two youngsters manage to make it out of the orphanage, with the help of one of Victor’s crazy inventions, and travel all the way to Paris.
Unfortunately, the best friends are accidentally separated. Fortunately for Felicie, she discovers the prestigious Opera Ballet School of Paris. Desperate to become a ballerina, Felicie steals the identity of a mean and selfish little rich girl named Camille (voiced by Maddie Ziegler) to gain admittance to the school. Once in the class, she quickly learns that energy, talent, and passion aren’t going to be enough to keep her from getting cut because of her lack of professional training.
Luck is on Felicie’s side when she learns the school’s cleaning lady, Odette (voiced by Carly Rae Jepsen), seems to know much more about dance than most instructors at the school. Odette takes Felicie under her wing and begins training her so she can have a chance of becoming a real ballerina.
Cute, chaotic, and silly, Leap! strives to be an inspirational movie about chasing after your dreams but gets lost at times amid clutter and high-energy antics. Elle Fanning and Nat Wolff do solid jobs in bringing the high-spirited, energetic Felicie and the imaginative and rambunctious Victor to life.
Working against Leap! is unimpressive animation reminiscent of animated films from 20 years ago. The script is extremely uneven and the film never really finds its rhythm. Leap!‘s approach to storytelling takes after its title, leaping back and forth between loud and wild moments, such as the kids escape from the orphanage while being chased by an employee, and heartfelt moments like the scene in which Odette takes in Felicie and offers to train her.
Still, with the lively action scenes and the positive messages of never giving up on your dreams and keeping those who truly care about you close, Leap! is entertaining enough to take the kids to see at a matinee price.
MPAA Rating: PG for some impolite humor, and action
Running Time: 89 minutes
Directed By: Eric Summer and Eric Warin
Release Date: August 25, 2017
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